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Sat Dec 20, 2014, 11:32 AM

Why Is Rape at the Origin of Most Religion?

x-posted from Religion


Stories like the Virgin Birth lack freely given female consent. Why don’t they bother us more?


Powerful gods and demi-gods impregnating human women—it’s a common theme in the history of religion, and it’s more than a little rapey.

-Zeus comes to Danae in the form of a golden shower, cutting “the knot of intact virginity” and leaving her pregnant with the Greek hero, Perseus.

-Jupiter forcibly overcomes Europa by transforming himself into a white bull and abducting her. He imprisons her on the Isle of Crete, over time fathering three children.

-Pan copulates with a shepherdess to produce Hermes.

-The legendary founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus are conceived when the Roman god Mars impregnates Rea Silvia, a vestal virgin.

-Helen of Troy, the rare female offspring of a god-human mating, is produced when Zeus takes the form of a swan to get access to Leda.

-In some accounts Alexander the Great and the Emperor Augustus are sowed by gods in the form of serpents, by Phoebus and Jupiter respectively.

-Though the earliest Christians had a competing story, in the Gospel of Luke, the Virgin Mary gets pregnant when the spirit of the Lord comes upon her and the power of the Most High overshadows her.

-The earliest accounts of Zoroaster’s birth have him born of a human father and mother, much like Jesus,; but in later accounts his mother is pierced by a shaft of divine light.

-The Hindu god Shiva has sex with the human woman Madhura, who has come to worship him while his wife Parvathi is away. Parvathi turns Madhura into a frog, but after 12 years in a well she regains human form and gives birth to Indrajit.

-The Buddha’s mother Maya finds herself pregnant after being entered from the side by a god in a dream.


The impregnation process may be a “ravishing” or seduction or some kind of titillating but nonsexual procreative penetration. The story may come from an Eastern or Western religious tradition, pagan or Christian. But these encounters between beautiful young women and gods have one thing in common. None of them has freely given female consent as a part of the narrative. (Luke’s Mary assents after being not asked but told by a powerful supernatural being what is going to happen to her, “Behold the bond slave of the Lord: be it done to me . . .”)

Who needs consent, freely given? If he’s a god, she’s got to want it, right? That is how the stories play out.

Whether or not the delectable young thing puts up a protest, whether or not seduction requires deception, whether or not the woman already has a husband or love, whether or not she is physically forced, the basic assumption is that the union between a god and a woman is overwhelming in an orgasmic way, not a bloody, head-bashed-against-the-ground kind of way. And afterwards? Well, what woman wouldn’t want to be pregnant with the son or daughter of a god?

--snip--

The miraculous conception stories I listed may have roots in pre-history, in early religions centered on star worship and the agricultural cycle, but they emerged in modern form during the Iron Age. By this time in history, most women were chattel. Like children, livestock and slaves, they were literally possessions of men, and their primary economic and spiritual value lay in their ability to produce purebred offspring of known lineage. The men at the top owned concubines and harams, and virgin females were counted among the spoils of war. (See, for example, the Old Testament story of the virgin Midianites in which Yahweh commands the Israelites to kill the used women but keep the virgin girls for themselves.)

--snip--

This is the context for the miraculous conception stories, and in this context, the consent of a woman is irrelevant. Within a society that treats female sexuality as a male possession, the only consent that can be violated is the consent of a woman’s owner, the man with the rights to her reproductive capacity—typically her father, fiancé, or husband. Many Christians are surprised when told that nowhere in the Bible, either Old Testament or New, does any writer say that a woman’s consent is necessary or even desirable before sex.

http://www.alternet.org/belief/why-rape-origin-most-religion?paging=off¤t_page=1#bookmark

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Arrow 15 replies Author Time Post
Reply Why Is Rape at the Origin of Most Religion? (Original post)
cleanhippie Dec 2014 OP
PassingFair Dec 2014 #1
AlbertCat Dec 2014 #2
cleanhippie Dec 2014 #3
onager Dec 2014 #13
TreasonousBastard Dec 2014 #4
AlbertCat Dec 2014 #5
libodem Dec 2014 #10
Curmudgeoness Dec 2014 #6
Arugula Latte Dec 2014 #7
Warpy Dec 2014 #9
libodem Dec 2014 #12
LiberalEsto Dec 2014 #8
libodem Dec 2014 #11
Exultant Democracy Dec 2014 #14
AtheistCrusader Dec 2014 #15

Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sat Dec 20, 2014, 11:56 AM

1. Male wish fulfillment.

I was a know-it-all teenager when a male friend of mine pointed
out to me that rape was a MAJOR component of war.

Since I've never wanted anyone that didn't want me, I thought
that money, treasure, territory, blood lust or defense were the only drivers
of war.

Being able to fully subjugate women at will is a prime motivator.
I hope most men have evolved from this.

As a woman, I can honestly say that I never have thoughts of
ambushing an unsuspecting man and raping him.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sat Dec 20, 2014, 12:06 PM

2. Watch it!

 

The elders of the Ecumenical Council over at that other forum will tell you your ignorance is showing and that you don't know who the main character in MacBeth is!

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Response to AlbertCat (Reply #2)

Sat Dec 20, 2014, 12:08 PM

3. Too late! Pope Apologist III already made a proclamation.



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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #3)

Sat Dec 20, 2014, 09:55 PM

13. LOL! Eagerly awaiting official interpretation...

Of the Pope's words by another member of the Council over there - Flea Market Augustine.

Not to be confused with Dollar Store Aquinas, that's a different Council member.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sat Dec 20, 2014, 12:16 PM

4. More likely procreation is at the root of it all...

and it might just be women's bad luck that they are the ones who give birth.

(I could go on, but I'll just wait for the alerts and swarm)

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Response to TreasonousBastard (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 20, 2014, 12:22 PM

5. (I could go on, but I'll just wait for the alerts and swarm)

 

I got called a misogynist because (gasp) I had the NERVE to suggest that social sexual roles have a root in biological sexual roles. Apparently the now 50 year old debunked notion of children being a blank slate that merely learn these things is alive and well in some quarters.

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Response to AlbertCat (Reply #5)

Sat Dec 20, 2014, 03:25 PM

10. OMG

You didn't open the door to another "evo-psych" lecture. You poor bastard.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sat Dec 20, 2014, 01:17 PM

6. And a further question is

why it is often an animal, and not a god in male human form, is the one that impregnates the woman? Swans, serpents, a white bull?

Just wondering.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #6)

Sat Dec 20, 2014, 02:28 PM

7. This is a side note, but this women-with-animals thing carries into modern advertising and movies.

 

You never see a commercial where a man is attracted to a female animal, but the reverse is a weirdly common theme in ads. Stuff like this:

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #6)

Sat Dec 20, 2014, 03:08 PM

9. Probably so the woman's purity is preserved

Copulating with a hairy man-god with a nasty old penis would sully her, you know. No male wants sloppy seconds and she'd be ruined as far as marriage went.

Also notice most of the animals avoid her pit of iniquity. Gotta keep that hymen. I suppose they install a zipper for the birth--or a door like some of those Mediaeval Marys had.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #6)

Sat Dec 20, 2014, 03:30 PM

12. Perhaps a DU mail

With the apparent wonder of goat love is in order.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sat Dec 20, 2014, 02:37 PM

8. My opinion is that it marks the takeover of ancient Goddess religions by patriarchy nt

 

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Response to LiberalEsto (Reply #8)

Sat Dec 20, 2014, 03:27 PM

11. There ya go

You win the internetz.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sun Dec 21, 2014, 12:52 PM

14. Submission to the more powerful is a major component of them

I also can help but think about the role women play today in modern cults. Lots of 12 year old girls getting impregnated by their religious figure over the years.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 03:19 PM

15. Pans will be Pans...

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